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The Players Championship returns: Fan’s guide to the 2021 tournament

Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the first round of The Players Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)
Rory McIlroy hits his tee shot on the 17th hole during the first round of The Players Championship on The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on March 12, 2020 in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images) (2020 Getty Images)

Players Championship week is here, and we’ve got the important information all right here for fans who plan on attending — or watching — the tournament at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Tickets

They’re all gone. The only way to get a ticket now is through the secondary market. Attendance is capped at 20% this year due to COVID-19 protocols.

The schedule

Tuesday and Wednesday are practice rounds. The tournament begins Thursday and concludes Sunday. First tee times are 6:40 a.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 7:50 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

When do the gates open?

During Tuesday and Wednesday’s practice rounds, gates open at 7:30 a.m. On Thursday and Friday, the course opens at 6:40 a.m. On Saturday and Sunday, they open at 7:30 a.m.

Watch it

Thursday and Friday rounds will be televised on The Golf Channel from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday rounds will be televised on NBC from 1 to 6 p.m. For those not watching it on TV, the PGA Tour’s Every Shot Live is available. It is, exactly what the name says. Every shot hit by the 154 players in the field will be aired there. A subscription charge applies.

Parking

The general parking lot is located at 5360 Palm Valley Road in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Parking must be purchased separately from tickets. Even those receiving complimentary or discounted tickets must purchase parking passes. That can be done here. Costs are $15 for pre-tournament days (Tuesday and Wednesday) and $40 for tournament rounds (Thursday through Sunday). There are no on-site parking pass sales. Parking information and purchase options can be found here.

Golf cart parking remains and is free at Gate B.

Mobile devices

They are allowed in the tournament but must remain on silent at all times. Flash on cameras cannot be used. Phone calls are only permitted in designated areas.

No military appreciation event this year

The popular military appreciation aspects of the tournament, the concert and the Patriots Outpost, are going away in 2021 due to coronavirus safety protocols. Complimentary tickets for active duty, retired, reserve and National Guard members will be offered on Tuesday and Wednesday of tournament week. Service personnel and one dependent will be permitted as long as tickets are available. There will be a flyover from four F-15 Eagles on Tuesday. The jets will leave NAS Mayport at 11:57 a.m. and fly over TPC Sawgrass at noon.

Who won the last Players?

The final three rounds of the 2020 Players were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rory McIlroy won the 2019 event with a 16-under 272. He edged local resident Jim Furyk by a stroke.

How much money is at stake?

A lot. The purse is $15 million, with $2.25 million going to the winner.

Some other changes to be aware of

  • Social distancing. Masks or face coverings required.
  • No autographs, no fist bumps or handshakes with the golfers.
  • There are no shuttles running in 2021 for health and safety reasons.
  • Tickets remain in an all-digital format.
  • There won’t be a replica of the 17th hole this year for fans to take shots on.
  • There are no discounts or special offers for tickets during Thursday through Sunday tournament rounds.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.